After a pretty poor reception following its 2014 launch, the Amazon Fire phone has gotten a sort of second life lately thanks to sales that make it basically free with the purchase of a year of Amazon Prime. That’s probably not the life Amazon wanted for the Fire phone, though, and now it’s unclear if the company will release a second model.
A new report claims that Amazon has scaled back its Lab126 hardware development center, firing dozens of engineers that worked on the Fire phone and slowing or stopping other projects. Those devices whose future is now hazy include a a stylus called Nitro that can convert handwriting into digital notes, a projector called Shimmer, and a 14-inch tablet called Cairo.
Amazon’s reportedly still got some hardware projects in its labs, though, like a high-end kitchen computer named Kabinet that can take voice commands, a tablet with a 3D display, and a Kindle battery than can run up to two years. And the second Fire phone? While some sources say that Amazon has shelved its plans for another phone, one tipster claims that Amazon has simply moved development of the new Fire phone from the Silicon Valley to Seattle.
The Fire phone was an ambitious device at its launch, offering unique features like Dynamic Perspective, which would shift around whatever you were viewing on screen depending on you moved the phone, as well as a Firefly product identifier tool. The Fire phone simply couldn’t stand up to its smartphone competition, though, especially at its original $199 on-contract asking price. The flak that the Fire phone has caught would likely turn a lot of folks off from making a second model, but Amazon could be determined to make Fire phone a thing.